Substance abusers spend Rs 11 lakh every month on drugs: IMHANS Study

Rabia Bashir delves into the IMHANS survey exclusively accessed by Greater Kashmir
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Srinagar: In a shocking revelation, the substance abusers in Kashmir consume drugs worth Rs 11 lakh every month, reveals a survey conducted by the Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (IMHANS), Kashmir.

According to the study ‘Prevalence and Pattern of Substance Use in 10 districts of Kashmir: A 2022 survey’ conducted by IMHANS, Rs 9 lakh worth heroin, Rs 1 lakh worth cannabis and Rs 1.30 lakh worth pharmaceutical opioids are being consumed in Kashmir every month.

Kashmir has about 67,468 substance-dependent individuals.

Kulgam district topped the list with abusers spending Rs 1,01,660 on heroin every month while it was lowest in Baramulla district at Rs 71020.

As per the data, heroin worth Rs 89,134 was consumed in Anantnag, Rs 1,00,202 in Bandipora, Rs 88,995 in Baramulla, Rs 74,694 in Budgam, Rs 87,392 in Kupwara, Rs 88,529 in Srinagar, Rs 1,00,165 in Shopian and Rs 81,726 in Pulwama.

Similarly, for cannabis, Ganderbal reported to have spent the least Rs 2415 and Kupwara reported to have spent the highest at Rs 23,272.

For pharmaceutical opioids, Baramulla reported to have spent the least with Rs 5083 and Bandipora reported to have spent the highest of Rs 22,264.

As per the survey, the substance use is predominantly prevalent among young males.

“The mean age of substance users was 28.15 years with a standard deviation of 7.44 and the substance use was seen majorly among the unemployed population (25.2 percent),” the study revealed.

Besides, the opioids were the most common psychoactive substance used in every district of Kashmir with heroin being the predominant opioid.

As per the doctors at IMHANS-K, on an average the consumption of heroin is 1 to 2 grams per day, which costs them around Rs 3000 to Rs 6000.

“As heroin is expensive, to meet the expenses they get into various illegal things starting from stealing from family members, selling their gadgets, taking debts, thefts, and also getting into drug peddling,” they said.

“Unfortunately if we see, the increasing crimes can be an offshoot of substance use but we don't have to criminalise it. We already are aware of the health burden associated, but it also has a huge economic burden on an individual and the society as a whole. This economic burden also creates a market of huge revenue generation for those involved in this business. If we see throughout the world, the drug related market is the third largest business with a turnover of 500 billion US dollars.”

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